One morning as I walked up to the front doors of my elementary school, five minutes late as usual, the sweet girl approached me with eyes full of joy. Somehow, her mom always managed to drop her off at the same time as mine did. She presented a photograph of a newborn baby, exclaiming she was now a big sister. I shared with her the name and age of my precious baby sister and how rewarding being an older sibling could be - in a third grade level conversation of course. For the remainder of the school year my new friend, Madison, and I waited for each other right inside of the building every morning and walked to the fourth grade hall together.
As fifth grade approached, I was excited to find out which of my friends were in my class and what I would learn this year. On the first day of the new school year I walked towards my new classroom, a large smile in tow. When I walked through the door I immediately scanned the room for familiar faces. I saw my friends Lauren and Rayburn, and then my eyes lit up as they met with Madison's. We exchanged smiles and walked towards each other to meet with a hug. As the school year progressed I began spending every weekend at Madison's house while our friendship grew like no others. We did everything together. As time passed and the years progressed so did our friendship.
During high school we picked up different hobbies and were involved in different clubs, but the sincerity of our care for each other and our friendship was always very present. Throughout our friendship I watched Madison grow as a person and in her faith. She was kind and gentle, always making sure everyone felt loved and appreciated. Madison's spirit was full of joy and brought laughter to everyone she intertwined paths with. Her love for the Lord was bright and she shared this light with all.
In the fall of 2016, we began college a mere thirty minutes apart. Madison began visiting me at my apartment and often staying one to two nights a week with me. I looked forward to my FaceTime call from my loving motivator every day, even the days we would be together.
On November 26, 2016 Madison was diagnosed with AML, or Acute Myelocytic Leukemia. After a frustrating span of days she and her mother, Patsy, were sent to St Jude for her to begin her battle fighting cancer at 18 years of age.
While Madison was at St Jude she resided at the Ronald McDonald House and the Target House with her mother for periods of time as well as in-patient care at St Jude. She was a friend to each struggling kid and strong parent. Madison took all the sweet children she encountered under her wings and chose to be God's light to them and my motivator continued to motivate many more in their battles for their lives.
St Jude was able to help Madison beat cancer, in her words, "rocking it" every step of the way. Although, God still wanted to call his angel home. Madison begin her first breath in Heaven on March 18, 2017.
Madison was the daughter of Patsy and Jason McKenzie and Sal and Amy Peco. She had four younger siblings and a large, loving support of family and friends.
Team Madison Peco was formed in memory of Madison and to support other kids fighting the same battle as her through fundraising for the selfless organization of St Jude.
Please donate as you feel led. All donations are appreciated.